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Family Friendly or Grim Reality

On May 22, The TLC network pulled all episodes of the popular reality program “19 Kids and Counting”, a “family friendly” series in its 10th season.

“TLC” is the acronym for “The Learning Channel” television network, and the “19 Kids and Counting” series seemed to project all the attributes for the other acronym for TLC: “Tender Loving Care”. Or it least it seemed.

The TLC reality series was in its 10th season chronicling the lifestyle of the Duggar family as a “typical American family” dealing with the everyday occurrences of a typical middle class American Family. But then, Josh Duggar, the 27-year-old eldest son publicly acknowledged that as a teenager he had molested five girls, and reports implied his sisters were among his victims.

To say the least, the revelation caused a crisis: major sponsors pulled their ads and the network “distanced themselves” from the calamity, whatever that means.

But in fact “19 Kids and Counting” followed another popular show The Learning Center also abandoned due to controversy. “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” was a show about a 6-year-old who, it was revealed, drank a mixture of Mountain Dew and Red Bull beer. It was still drawing over 1.8 million viewers when it was found her mother was dating a convicted child molester, and it was “Bye Bye” to Boo Boo.

But one could argue that being the “The Learning Center” means learning about not only the cute and cuddly parts of our culture, but also dealing with its less positive elements.
If “The Leaning Center” is really about learning, and not just a sitcom with real people, then the lessons learned by those programs could provide some “real learning” about human behavior, both good and bad.

And isn’t that what “learning” is all about?